Necrotizing fasciitis

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Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that can destroy skin and the soft tissues beneath it, including fat and the tissue covering the muscles (fascia). The syndrome may be caused by a variety of agencies, and often is actually a combination of several infection germs attack at a time. Many types of bacteria can cause necrotizing (eg Group A Streptococcus, Vibrio vulnificus, Clostridium perfringens, Bacteroides fragilis), whose Group A streptococcal (also known as Streptococcus pyogenes) is the most common cause.

Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by several kinds of bacteria. The most common cause is infection by a group A streptococcal (GAS) bacterium, most often Streptococcus pyogenes, which also causes other infections such as strep throat and impetigo. Usually the infections caused by these bacteria are mild. But in rare cases the bacteria produce poisons (toxins) that can damage the soft tissue below the skin and cause a more dangerous infection that can spread quickly along the tissue covering the muscle (fascia).
Symptoms

The infection begins locally, at a site of trauma, which may be severe (such as the result of surgery), minor, or even non-apparent. The affected skin is classically, at first, very painful without any grossly visible change. With progression of the disease, tissue becomes swollen, often within hours. Diarrhea and vomiting are common symptoms as well. Inflammation does not show signs right away if the bacteria is deep within the tissue. If it is not deep, signs of inflammation such as redness and swollen or hot skin show very quickly. Skin color may progress to violet and blisters may form, with subsequent necrosis (death) of the subcutaneous tissues.

Treatment

Treatment of necrotizing fasciitis is most effective if the infection is recognized in time. Antibiotics and surgical removal of dead tissue are required. If the tissue destruction is widespread, extensive surgery or amputation might be the only way to prevent death.

While early diagnosis and treatment are the key to preventing devastating tissue destruction, physicians and patients often fail to recognize necrotizing fasciitis and its severity.

To help prevent any kind of infection, wash your hands often, and always keep cuts, scrapes, burns, sores, and bites clean.

By: Franchis

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